Cadillac’s V-series is to that nameplate what AMG is to Mercedes or M is to BMW. It is the high-performance wing of the corporate, the place the unique product (and its value) will get kicked up some critical notches. It’s also a reasonably courageous enterprise at Cadillac. Working up your colours within the firm of automobiles that outline the artwork of company scorching rodding is an unmistakable sign of intent.
With its XLR-V, Cadillac places a participant in among the many SL55 AMGs and Jaguar XKRs of the world—automobiles with efficiency and pedigree to spare. So how does the XLR-V match up, this low-slung, high-end pretender to the thrones of Europe?
In some areas, very effectively certainly. The brand new supercharged 4.4-liter model of Normal Motors’s Northstar V-Eight is an exceedingly subtle engine. Pressurized by a GM-designed and patented Roots-type blower made by Eaton, the engine provides prodigious torque all through most of its working vary. Constantly variable valve timing in any respect 4 cams undoubtedly helps unfold the out there torque round so the automobile nearly at all times responds to a jab of the pedal with a surge of acceleration.
The Northstar can be endowed with fascinating versatility, capable of purr round at decrease engine speeds as befits a luxurious marque, then snarl to the redline with nearly stunning ferocity. A part of this Jekyll-and-Hyde act is because of a muffler that suppresses low-rev noise ranges after which switches to a extra free-flowing mode at increased speeds when a vacuum-operated valve opens, permitting the exhaust gases a extra direct path to the environment.
Additionally a part of this suave schizophrenia is a bunch of element work executed on the Northstar to retain obligatory ranges of refinement together with elevated energy output. The discount in displacement (from 4.6 to 4.Four liters) was achieved by decreasing the scale of the cylinder bore—thus rising the quantity of metallic between these cylinders—and was thought-about obligatory within the pursuits of sturdiness. That blower is housed in a casting that’s built-in with the Laminova tube-type intercooler and the consumption tract in a single inflexible unit, and it really works extraordinarily effectively at decreasing undesirable supercharger whine.
The engine block is a novel casting that gives improved coolant circulate and has a brand new oil gallery to provide under-piston cooling jets. Decrease-compression cast-alloy pistons necessitated a rebalancing of the crankshaft, and the accent drive required a redesign and a brand new, wider three-sheave pulley to energy the blower. That is no small concern, because the supercharger soaks up almost 80 horsepower at most pace.
Nonetheless, the engine manages to maintain a few of that further energy to itself, punching out 443 horsepower at 6400 rpm, which is sufficient to propel this 3840-pound convertible to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds and thru the quarter-mile in 13 seconds flat. Extra necessary to on a regular basis customers is the 414 pound-feet of torque, of which 90 % is out there between 2200 and 6000 rpm.
All that torque nearly precludes the necessity for a downshift in most situations, however the clever 6L80 six-speed computerized transmission will most likely hand you one (or two) anyway while you squeeze the throttle. This rear-mounted six-speed supplies nearly intuitive response to a driver’s inputs with Caddy’s efficiency shift algorithm, which refrains from shifting up on a trailing throttle when cornering. It may be operated in manumatic mode by tapping the lever into an adjoining selector slot. This motion additionally informs the magnetorheological shocks to change to sportier settings.
The XLR-V‘s chassis is upgraded from the naturally aspirated base mannequin’s by having a stable entrance anti-roll bar, a rear anti-roll bar (not current on the V-less XLR), stiffer rear lower-control-arm bushings, and a recalibrated experience program. All of this leads to a flat and well-controlled stance on the street, and the experience remains to be significantly higher than that of the Corvette with which this automobile shares a lot platform structure. Not less than a part of that arises from the more-modest tire sizes, elevated although they’re from these of the bottom XLR.
In supercharged type, the XLR-V wears 19-inch wheels and rubber, however with nothing just like the width discovered on its Corvette cousins. The rear tires are 255/40R-19 Pirelli run-flats. (The Vette runs 285s on “regular” fashions and 325s on the Z06.) The result’s a automobile that can be utilized as an on a regular basis commuter with far much less drama and inconvenience than can its bow-tie-badged brothers.
Smaller tires have an effect on the automobile in different methods, in fact. On the skidpad, we may solely wring 0.87 g of grip out of the XLR-V, which was far beneath GM’s declare of 0.94 g. Additionally, the braking distance was a longish 176 ft, regardless of the V-series brake improve—mainly a set of Z51-spec rotors and calipers additionally lifted from the Corvette components bin. These small compromises in general efficiency are price tolerating for the consolation and luxurious you get in alternate.
Noise ranges are low sufficient—some street roar apart—to permit full enjoyment of the nine-speaker Bose stereo with the hardtop in place. This Caddy has a navigation system, dual-zone local weather controls, absolutely powered seats, keyless door opening and engine operation, and the tactile delights of French-stitched leather-based coverings all through the inside. These enhance the ambiance significantly. The XLR at all times suffered considerably from the trendy angularity of its design. The V-series’s textural additions soften the general impact.
In making an attempt to strike the necessary stability between high-performance integrity and splendid isolation, the XLR-V often falls between two stools. On some street surfaces we famous a little bit body-structure quiver like that of the stiffly sprung Corvette, but on the ever present grooved concrete freeways of Los Angeles, the automobile proved surprisingly clean and tranquil.
Cadillac employs GM’s magnetic steering mechanism to fluctuate effort, and though the XLR-V‘s wheel feels a little bit leaden at low speeds, it improves to an affordable heft within the driver’s fingers as pace rises. However the wheel by no means transmits the stimulating suggestions you get in the most effective sports activities automobiles. To be truthful, although, the XLR-V‘s probably rivals on this market–the BMW 650i, the Mercedes SL55 AMG, the Lexus SC430–have equally inert steering mechanisms.
We will not complain about steering accuracy. The XLR-V goes just about the place it is pointed, and the chassis geometries reveal no critical dealing with vices. Not that it may go astray with the StabiliTrak management standing by to intercede within the occasion of horseplay. You’ll be able to disable the traction-control portion and change the soundness to a much less intrusive technique, however you may by no means make StabiliTrak go away fully.
This isn’t a major problem for many drivers (we go away the system on in regular driving conditions, too), and it is a optimistic profit for the common proprietor. One other security expertise—this one unique to the V-series—is a system that swivels the headlights in corners to enhance the illuminated visual field. Do that earlier than you deride it as expertise for its personal sake; belief us, it is advantageous to see the place you are going.
Having the flexibility of a completely computerized retractable hardtop is advantageous, too, even when the machine eats up baggage house. Nonetheless, as we have mentioned earlier than, you’ll be clever to drive to your weekend vacation spot with the highest up and stash your baggage contained in the resort earlier than motoring across the lake with the highest down. An equal handicap is the absence of cupboard space behind the seats. There’s an upright storage bin between the seatbacks, however it is going to solely settle for one thing in regards to the measurement of a big tissue field.
As high-performance roadsters go, the XLR-V is kind of well-suited to the quotidian necessities of your less-extreme motorist. There is no super-low chin spoiler to mash on parking curbs. There aren’t any limbo antics essential to get out and in. The automobile has all of the creature comforts expertise can present, and its distinctive mesh grille, supercharged badge, and 4 shiny tailpipes inform everybody this Cadillac is a lower above.
For many who suppose 100 grand is an affordable amount of cash to spend on a automobile, this Cadillac is actually price a glance.
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